3 Things to Consider for a Healthier Bed
Our bedrooms are the place where we rest and repair each night. Every day, we encounter things in the world that put stress on our bodies. Our bodies are under constant attack from a variety of stressors from environmental pollutants and chemicals to emotional stress that is caused from different aspects of living our lives. At night, when we lay down to go to bed, we give our bodies the chance to repair our cells so we can wake up and start anew. It’s honestly such a gift and it’s why it’s so important to offer ourselves the best fighting chance to repair each night. This is why here at Awakening Spaces we would argue that our beds are the most important piece of furniture in the entire house.
3 Considerations for a Healthier Bed
THE BED FRAME
It all starts with the bed frame. It’s important to lift our beds up off of the ground and allow air movement to penetrate below the mattress and frame. In Feng Shui, they describe that allowing air to flow below your bed is a sign that things will flow easily in your life. In Building Biology, we learn the importance of allowing the mattress to breathe so we can prevent moisture from becoming trapped.
Here a few things to look for when shopping for a bed frame:
Opt for a solid wood frame over something made from particleboard or MDF. Wood composite products have a high chance of containing formaldehyde.
Avoid metal frames (if possible), metal can act as a conductor or antenna and act as geopathic stress disturbing the earth's own magnetic field. This is controversial, but in Building Biology we practice the precautionary principle meaning if it hasn’t been proven 100% safe we avoid it all together.
Be cautious of stains and sealers used on a bed frame as these may be petroleum based products. Always ask the company what they use.
When we sleep, our faces are inches away from our mattresses for 8 or so hours a night. What is the air quality in that proximity? Will you be inhaling petroleum based fumes or would you rather opt for something natural? Mattresses can contain things such as flame retardants, petroleum based polyurethane, and formaldehyde. So even though the bed might initially be “comfortable” just think of how uncomfortable you will be after years of inhaling these nasty chemicals. Our vote is to go natural whenever possible.
Here a few things to look for when shopping for a mattress:
Buy something made of natural materials like organic cotton, organic wool, and natural latex.
Look for the GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) and OEKO-Tex (non-organic latex) certifications.
Avoid Metal coils. Metal coils can act as an antenna if there are Electromagnetic fields in the room as well as geopathic stress and disturbance of the earth's magnetic field. As mentioned above, this is controversial as well, but because of the precautionary principle, we choose to avoid it.
Make sure the layers of materials are stitched together and not glued together. Oftentimes companies use all healthy, non-toxic materials but they use adhesive to keep the layers from slipping past each other.
Be wary of foam mattresses claiming to be low-VOC and having a CertiPUR-US certification. This certification does not mean no VOC, it just means it's slightly less toxic than a standard memory foam. It is certainly far safer than regular foam but it is only testing for the most known common offenders, who’s to say that the new chemicals they are replaced with don’t cause harm down the road? Once again, we like to follow the precautionary principle.
THE MATTRESS COVER AND SHEETS
Finally, the thing we are closest to during our sleep is our mattress cover and bed sheets. Our sheets are in direct contact with our skin and have the ability to absorb any chemicals that the sheets contain. Did you know that it only takes 26 seconds for our skin to absorb things? The sad truth is, most of our cotton sheets contain high levels of pesticides. Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops so we see this in conventional cotton sheets.
What to look for when shopping for a mattress cover:
Look for organic cotton, tencel, or wool products. These have less likely been sprayed with harmful chemicals pesticides.
Avoid anything that has vinyl in it.
Be cautious about “antibacterial” claims and remember that we are biological creatures with tons of good bacteria on our body. Anti-bacteria also harm our good bacteria.
Polyethylene is OK (it is one of the most inert plastics).
What to look for when shopping for a sheets:
Look for one of the certifications:
GLOBAL ORGANIC TEXTILE STANDARD (GOTS)
GREEN GUARD GOLD
FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED
Avoid anything that says “wrinkle-free” as it likely has a chemical component to make it that way.
Look for organic fabrics so you don’t chance sleeping up against pesticide residues.
Use sheets that only have natural dyes. Natural fabrics will also eliminate static electric charges created by synthetic materials.
At Awakening Spaces it’s our goal to give you the principles that make a product the MOST safe. How far you want to take it is up to you! Many people will do fine with products made from synthetic materials that are lower outgassing and only remove the biggest offending toxins, while others might need to select a bed assembly that is as pure and natural as possible. It’s also important to note that just because something is natural does not mean it will not have an odor or a smell to it, so it’s best practice to test things first if you are chemically sensitive. When you book a call with us we can help you find the perfect bed solution for your unique needs using all of the criteria outlined above. We hope this guide can help you make a healthier choice when you are selecting a new bed.
This piece was written and contributed by:
Ashley, the founder of Awakening Spaces, supports environmentally susceptible and health-conscious individuals in creating safe, healthy, and beautiful environments. As a licensed Interior Designer, she combines her expertise of the construction industry with her knowledge of health and wellbeing to support and empower you along your own journey in creating a healing environment. Ashley is currently pursuing a triple certification in Building Biology and will soon be certified to assess your home for mold, electro-magnetic radiation, and other harmful environmental toxins. Awakening Spaces offers both Full Service Interior Design as well as Environmental Health Coaching services for those looking to improve the health of their home. Ashley finds inspiration in her work through nature and is most grounded when spending time outdoors and exploring new places.